KUALA LUMPUR: Recruitment of domestic maids from Timor Leste is one of the options available to the government, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.
"That is one of the options which we are keeping...we did discuss (that) but we did not make (any) decision on this," Dr Subramaniam told Bernama on Sunday.
He was replying to a question whether Malaysia would consider recruitment of maids from Indonesia's neighbouring country Timor Leste, in view of the ongoing freeze imposed on the supply of the maids from the republic in June, last year.
Dr Subramaniam, who is also MIC vice-president, said this after attending the 'kumbhabhishekam' or consecration ceremony of the 127-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Bandar.
Also present were party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, party officials and community leaders.
Dr Subramaniam said, currently, the focus was on countries such as Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
He said the number of maids from Cambodia had increased from 9,000 to over 30,000 in the last three or four months.
"So, we are looking along that model before considering other countries," he said.
On the issue of Indonesian maids, Dr Subramaniam said that Malaysian and Indonesian representatives would meet in Jakarta on Monday.
Indonesia had frozen the supply of maids to Malaysia in June last year.
Recently, Malaysia had rejected an Indonesian request for a RM800 monthly minimum wage for its domestic maids because it did not have a minimum wage structure.
Dr Subramaniam had said that this was one of the main reasons why the memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia could not be signed.
Meanwhile, about 50,000 people, including foreign tourists, thronged the temple bordering Chinatown, to attend its sixth 'kumbhabhishekam'. The first was held in 1889.
A majestic three-tier temple roof, new-look 'Nadarajar Sabhai' and the grand temple frontier pillars were among the attractions unveiled at the 'kumbhabhishekam'.
Founded in 1873, and built in the South Indian style, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia.
A 'kumbhabhishekam' is a series of rites and rituals held either to formally consecrate a new temple, or re-consecrate an old one, usually every 12 years. - Bernama